Sports

Sugar Bears prepare for tough competetors in 2010 season, want to continue success from 2009

The Sugar Bears basketball team is coming off of a successful season last year, and Coach Matt Daniel said they are doing everything they can to prepare for another successful season this year.
Last year the Sugar Bears finished with an overall record of 21-8, a Southland Conference record of 11-5 and 10-3 in nonconference play.
Daniel was named the 2010 Southland Conference Coach of the Year and has added three new members to his coaching staff this season, including Tiffany Brooks one of his former players at the University of Missouri.
He has also hired Terrell Coburn as director of player development/assistant strength coach and Brandon Johnson as film exchange coordinator.
The Sugar Bears are playing well known schools this season, including the SEC powerhouse University of Alabama Crimson Tide on Nov. 14 in Tuscaloosa, but Daniel said they aren’t preparing for that game any differently than they prepare for the others.
“No game is bigger than any other in our minds, and we don’t change how we prepare. The Nov. 12 game against Hendrix is the one we are focused on,” Daniel said.
This season will also be the first time the Sugar Bears will be eligible to compete in the Southland Conference tournament since UCA has officially transitioned into Division I.
Daniel said, “Winning the conference tournament and making it to the NCAA tournament is all we are focused on, so that provides plenty of motivation.”
Senior center Megan Moss said: “The fact that we will be able to compete in conference this season will motivate us to bust our butts in practice and show everyone that last year wasn’t just luck and that we are a great team and will be for many seasons to come.”
Moss said the Sugar Bears’ loss to Stephen F. Austin at the buzzer last season motivated them to improve.
“We were really upset about losing that game because the winner was the determining factor of who won our side of conference,” she said. “We don’t want to have the should haves or what ifs.”
Daniel said, “It’s hard to ensure a successful season, but our preparation will hopefully give us a shot at one.”
Daniel said the Sugar Bears have been working hard on picking up the pace of play.
“We feel we are pretty deep and are trying to play into that,” he said.
Moss said the Sugar Bears have been focusing on fitness and conditioning in preparation for the season.
“One of the main things we have been working on is conditioning so that when other teams are tired and down, we will have the energy to keep going,” she said.
Daniel said: “We are trying to play on both ends with reckless control. Our philosophy is to tilt the floor to where we run downhill on offense and they run uphill on defense. It’s full tilt basketball.”
Moss said the team has also changed a lot with the addition of new players.
“With us having more girls on the team we have been able to pick up momentum. With that has come a lot more competition for each position,” she said.
Moss said that even though the Sugar Bears had a great season last year, she thinks the upcoming season can be even better.
She said: “We have more depth, height, skill and strength. We also have a lot more maturity this year.”
The Sugar Bears have won almost 75 percent of their home games since first playing in the Farris Center in January 1972, and last season they had their best season at home and set the new program record for most
Lisa Burnett photo
wins at home when they went 15-1 in the Farris Center
This will be the Sugar Bears first season on the new court, which underwent a complete renovation this summer. The new court features the new UCA logos, new scoreboards and a video board.
Last season sophomore forward Megan Herbert shot 55 percent from the field and averaged 14 rebounds per game and 21.8 points per game, leading the Sugar Bears to an average of 76 points per game and 45 rebounds per game. Junior guard Nakeia Guiden shot 40 percent from the field and scored 10 points per game.
Not only are the Sugar Bears playing their annual game against Hendrix, they are also facing Central Baptist College on Dec. 6.
The Sugar Bears will also play the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions in Pine Bluff on Dec. 18.
The Sugar Bears will kick off the 2010-2011 season in the Farris Center against the Hendrix Warriors on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. Their first conference game will be Jan. 12 in Conway against the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks.

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